Merrill Lynch is to open an office in Moscow later this year, joining a growing list of major investment banks gearing up to tap the Russian financial markets.
The U.S. investment bank’s Moscow office, due to open in the second quarter of this year, will be predominantly an investment banking operation, but will also cover other business activities, including capital markets, a Merrill spokesman said on Tuesday. Last year, Merrill clinched its first major mandate in Russia, advising power utility RAO UES, alongside Alfa Bank, on its strategic options.
The bank expects to have around four to five staff in the Moscow office initially, but will grow from there.
A whole raft of investment banks have been building up a presence in Russia as the country’s economy strengthens on the back of high commodity prices and potential structural reforms.
UBS, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, ING and Deutsche Bank all featured prominently in bookrunning league tables last year.
Other investment banks, including Barclays Capital, HSBC and Credit Suisse First Boston, are considering whether to expand into Russia.